There are many benefits to having a live, professional receptionist answer telephone calls for your small business. Among them are enhanced professional image, improved customer service and the ability to manage your workload more effectively. As with anything, there are certain people who are naturally predisposed to doing certain work and the receptionist is no different. When it comes to telephone reception, whether you are looking to hire a full-time receptionist for your office or outsource your telephone answering to a virtual receptionist service (sometimes called off-site or remote receptionist), there are several key qualities you will want your receptionist to posses.
1) Strong telephone personality – As effective a communication tool as the telephone can be, it is a somewhat narrow channel. By this I mean that messages and meaning can only be conveyed verbally and are only received using one of our five senses. The result of this is that the caller must rely solely on the voice coming through the phone line to interpret the communication effectively. This necessitates having a receptionist whose natural speech pattern is animated and friendly. Without the benefit of the non-verbal cues that dominate so much of face communication, meaning can easily be misconstrued if not delivered articulately and with appropriate emotion.
2) Genuine desire to help – Some people just take natural pleasure in assisting others. You want to engage a receptionist who derives satisfaction from lending assistance and makes it their mission to see every call through to its best conclusion. If your receptionist does not have the caller’s best interest at heart, this will come through on the phone. Not unlike a top salesperson who must be customer focused to succeed, your receptionist should channel all their skill and knowledge into understanding what the caller requires and finding the most expeditious manner to deliver it.
3) Coachable – Another key quality you want your receptionist to possess is to be coachable. This means they are willing to learn and adopt those systems you have in place for your business and execute them effectively. By definition, the receptionist is not charged with developing the experience you want your callers to have. As a business owner, you must develop the systems you wish to employ for converting callers to clients and repeat customers. The job of the receptionist is to learn these systems and follow your instructions to take the caller down the appropriate path in the most amenable fashion.
While many of the skills necessary to be a good receptionist can be taught, you will find that if your receptionist has these key qualities, they will naturally excel in this important role.